Exciting Times, As Usual

Jim Thompson, Executive Editor and Founder

Once again, we find ourselves in exciting times in the pulp and paper industry. The last fortnight has brought several interesting developments:

1. Koch Industries seems to be wasting no time flexing their muscle in assuming management of the former public company Georgia-Pacific. Since Koch is private there are few public announcements on which to rely. Hence the rumor mill and local newspapers in mill towns have been full of information indicating Koch's lack of timidity in influencing and steering the path forward for Georgia-Pacific.

2. Energy continues to be a big issue, not only for the pulp and paper industry, but for the world as a whole. The pulp and paper industry seems to be wanting to join the parade of solutions, it remains to be seen if today's rhetoric will turn into action tomorrow. Past performance would indicate a big bang followed by a fizzle.

3. Apollo Management (who the heck are they?) has just signed a definitive agreement to buy International Paper's coated and SC businesses. Yet another move towards privatization. It is a mixed puzzle at the moment as to whether such activities are the result of private equity funds seeing opportunities or big money's attempts to avoid Sarbanes-Oxley.

4. The new Federal Reserve Chief, Ben Bernanke, is roiling the stock markets with his comments. This may be expected after the long career and circumspect statements of the much lauded Alan Greenspan. However, Bernanke needs a quick lesson in public speaking if he is to avoid tanking the entire world economy.

Ah, just a normal day in the pulp and paper industry. There is never a shortage of news here.